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October 16, 2013

Cowboys DL is a shell of itself since training camp started with high hopes for the group

The Cowboys passed on taking defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd with the 18th overall, trading down to 31st instead and ending up with Travis Frederick in the first round and Terrance Williams with the additional choice in the third round. But the Cowboys didn't draft a single defensive lineman, even in the late rounds.

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said then, in April, that he had to sit on the floor in the defensive line room because the Cowboys had so many defensive linemen.

They liked their starters -- ends DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer and tackles Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher -- and their depth with reserves like Tyrone Crawford. They had talent aplenty and promise galore.

But on Sunday, Hatcher will find himself the last starter standing on the defensive line.

The Cowboys released Ratliff on Wednesday after he failed to play a down this season. Spencer played only 34 plays against the Chiefs before the Cowboys placed him on injured reserve with a knee injury that required mircofracture surgery. Ware, who has battled various injuries all season, will miss the first game of his career on Sunday after injuring a quadriceps last week against the Redskins.

Crawford didn't even make it out of training camp, needing surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon.

Ratliff, Ware, Spencer and Hatcher have 195.5 career sacks. Hatcher, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie and Nick Hayden -- the projected starters Sunday -- have a combined 31. 

Wilber, a fourth-round pick in 2012, has never made an NFL start. He has seven career tackles and two career sacks. 

Hayden, signed in February, had 13 starts before this season when he has started every game at nose tackle. 

Selvie was signed July 25 as a camp body after Crawford and Spencer were injured in training camp. He had never started a game until this season when he has started all six at left defensive end.

"I think I heard somebody talk about the no-names, and you’ve got to be careful of that," Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said Wednesday. "But in the same sense, there are a lot of guys that people don’t know. They’ve done a great job. I’ve repeated that before. They've shown up. They put it on tape."

-- Charean Williams







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